Book Review: A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepard

Hi everyone! Today I’m doing a book review on Megan Shepard’s A Cold Legacy. This was the first book that I read this year and I’m excited to share my thoughts with you! I’ve kept this review as spoiler free as possible, and I hope you enjoy reading!

A Cold Legacy is the final book in Megan Shepard’s ‘The Madman’s Daughter’ trilogy. The book is inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The synopsis on Shepard’s website is as follows:

‘After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet- along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward- has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth Von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

‘Then she uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation- and her own intended role in it- which forces her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. Juliet must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones- or make her own.’

As you can probably tell, this book is certainly not an ordinary teenage romance novel. It’s action packed, and takes the reader on a roller coaster of emotions. It is driven by plot, however, the author uses amazing details to describe the scientific experiments.

In this novel, there isn’t a love triangle. Juliet is planning her wedding. Although she is young, her wedding acts as a nice subplot to the novel. It helps to put the darkness of her secrets into perspective. I also like how Juliet still has elements of normality in her everyday life.

The novel isn’t really a re-telling of Frankenstein. This makes sense though: it would have been an impressive feat to retell three Victorian tales in one series! The author definitely makes good use of elements of Frankenstein. The manor where Juliet is staying belonged to Victor Frankenstein’s family, and the key theme of reanimation is used. Edward also leaves, which mirrors that of the monster. I wasn’t as much of a fan of this part. It seems unfair that he is compared to a monster when he tries so hard to protect Juliet and Lucy throughout the trilogy.

I loved the setting. The novel launches straight into the description, which sets the eerie and creepy tone that is used throughout the novel. Although it is a completely different environment, the creepiness of the mansion is similar to the creepiness on Doctor Moreau’s Island.

I definitely had a lump in my throat while reading the final chapters. I wanted so much for Juliet to have her happy ending. I won’t say if the author grants her it or not: you’ll have to read to find that one out!

I’d definitely recommend these books to lovers of teenage romance. The plot is gripping and although there is a love triangle, it isn’t the main focus of the book. The Madman’s Daughter is still my favourite book from the trilogy (I wrote a review if you want to see what I thought), but I’d definitely recommend reading the rest of the series!

I hope you enjoyed this review! Let me know what your favourite novel is in the comments! I’d love to get some recommendations!

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Book Review- The New York Trilogy

We all love a detective novel. Getting stuck into a good whodunnit, following the brainy detective’s methods and watching the bad guy get punished. But sometimes this can become a bit predictable. We know that the detective is superbly clever, that the bad guy will get caught, that society will return to normal. Sometimes we crave something different, more reflective of real life, where the world does not return to perfection at the end of the day.

Paul Auster takes the typical conventions of detective fiction and flips them on their head. The three short stories in The New York Trilogy are all examples of postmodern detective fiction, a genre which subverts the standard conventions of detective fiction. In it, the detectives often investigate larger concepts such as the self and identity.

Yet the novel is disguised as a typical example of detective fiction. In ‘City of Glass’, our detective Quinn is a segregated individual. Divorced from his wife, he is an author of detective fiction. A mysterious phone call leads him on a journey investigating the behaviour of Peter Stillman Snr, who is plotting to murder his son, Peter Stillman Jnr. ‘Ghosts’ follows the life of Blue, who has been tasked by White to watch Black in his apartment. ‘The Locked Room’ is narrated from the perspective of an unnamed narrator. He is investigating the disappearance of his childhood friend Fanshawe, while publishing his work.

Do they sound like simple detective mysteries? From a glance, they are. But on closer inspection, they are not just a simple detective novel.

Sometimes, there is no clear villain in the case. You could even argue there isn’t even a case. Yet there’s something engaging about these novels. Something that keeps one reading.

And yet, all of these stories are interlinked. This is not revealed to the reader until the final pages. This opens up a whole realm of possibilities that I’ve not fully wrapped my head around. Every time I pick up the book, the meaning seems to change, and I’m left with more unanswered questions.

If you’re looking for a challenging read, I’d definitely recommend this book. Auster’s writing style is engaging, and he uses lots of interesting imagery. It’s definitely a book that takes effort to work out, but it’s worth the effort. If you’re looking for a lighter read, this is not a book I would recommend.

Do you like to read detective fiction? What’s your favourite kind?

Book Review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Hi everyone! Today’s post is a book review on the immensely popular To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.

I’ve wanted to read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before for a little while. I bought it in summer, but didn’t have a chance to read it. After a stressful semester, a nice young adult novel was exactly what I needed to relax.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is the first book in the trilogy written by Jenny Han. The synopsis of the first novel on Han’s website reads as follows:

‘Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her, these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved.

When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul, and say all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only.

Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.’

There was lots I liked about this book. Firstly, I liked the characterisation of Peter. He is completely different from the stereotypical popular boy and is much more interesting. I also really liked Lara Jean. I was able to picture her really well and I loved her little quirks. I was definitely hoping that they would end up together!

As a whole, I liked the plot. It was a little bit different from the typical ‘girl meets boy’ love story. It sucked me in, and during the middle I struggled to put it down. But it did take me a while to get to this point. I found the start incredibly boring and unrealistic. For example, Lara Jean bakes her younger sister cookies and places them on the bedside table while she sleeps so she wakes up to the smell of freshly baked cookies. I also found Lara Jean always being with her sister and her boyfriend a little strange. Furthermore, Lara Jean’s younger sister Kitty is a completely unrealistic character. She’s supposed to be nine, but she acts much older.

Once Peter and Lara Jean begin dating, the plot begins to move faster, and I was hooked. It is driven by action and dialogue rather than the description that I usually favour. But Han does use some fantastic descriptions. I really like the simile ‘like we were two leftover heels of bread and together we made a dry sandwich’. Overall, I’d like to have seen more ‘showing’ rather than ‘telling’.

I also wouldn’t describe the book as a fluffy teenage romance. Although parts of the plot are lighthearted and had me laughing out loud (I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say ‘Saint’ Andrews in my life!), Margot’s evident homesickness and the pressures that are placed upon Lara Jean provide weight to the book. I would have liked to see the author delve deeper into these concepts, especially Margot’s homesickness.

I didn’t enjoy the ending of the novel. Unlike the film where everything is neatly tied up, the novel seemed to stop in the middle of the plot which means I have lots of unanswered questions. The status of Peter and Lara Jean’s relationship is a big one. Peter leaves very abruptly and it’s unclear if they are completely over. Although I do quite like when novels end on a cliffhanger, this just felt like it ha stopped in the middle. If there was a bigger scene between him and Lara Jean, the novel would have felt more finished.

If you enjoy reading young adult romances, this is definitely a great book to read. Although it has a slow start, it’s definitely worth a read if you enjoy the classic ‘girl meets boy’ storyline. It’s not the best book that has ever been written, but the plot is a unique twist on the classic love story. It’s also worth a read if you enjoyed the movie. There’s lots of additional scenes that have been omitted, and as we all know, the book is always better than the movie!

What did you think of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before? Let me know in the comments!

*image of the book cover is taken from Han’s website*

My Current TBR List!

Hi everyone! Today I thought I’d share my TBR list! Can I even call myself a bookworm if I didn’t have a TBR list as long as my arm? It will take me so long to get through all these books since I have to focus on uni, but I thought it would be fun to share it nonetheless!

The Good Girls by Sara Sheperd

This is the sequel to The Perfectionists, which I read this summer. I did really enjoy the book, but it didn’t feel finished properly. I’m excited to read this to see what happens.

A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd

This is the final book in The Madman’s Daughter trilogy, which is a series that has captured my heart. Each of the books is a modern adaptation on a classic gothic fiction text. The first is based on The Island of Doctor Moreau, and the second is based on the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. This one is based on Frankenstein and I have high hopes for it. I studied Frankenstein in first year, and I really enjoyed reading it. I’m sure I’ll enjoy this adaptation just as much!

To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

I’ve seen so much hype about this on social media, and I’ve finally bought the Kindle version! I’m sure you all know the plot, so I won’t bore you with that! I’m hoping it lives up to the hype though.

Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout

Strout is a major inspiration for my own writing. I’ve mentioned before that I love the way she describes things. I don’t know what this book is about, but I’m sure that I will love it.

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig.

I mentioned in my summer wrap up that I wasn’t the biggest fan of How To Stop Time. I do really want to read this book, but I’m unsure if I’ll manage to get around to it. Hopefully I’ll be able to read some more of his work in the near future.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

This was in my Summer list and I still haven’t had a chance to read it! It looks awesome though, and the plot seems to be driven by girl power, which I love.

Courage to Soar by Simone Biles

This is the autobiography of the American gymnast Simone Biles. I can’t believe I didn’t read this in summer! I asked for it as a Christmas present and it’s been on my shelf ever since. Whoops!

Fierce by Aly Raisman

Again, another autobiography by a gymnast, but this time it’s Aly Raisman. Honestly, I can’t wait to buy this. I’m looking forward to growing my collection of gymnastics related books: it will be my third autobiography!

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This is a re read, so I’m not sure it technically counts! This is another book that’s very popular in the blogging community. It didn’t leave a big impression on me, so I want to read it again to see if my feelings have changed.

Freshers by Lucy Ivison and Tom Ellen

Again, another re read. This may have a spoiler so be warned! At the end of the book, we find out that one of the main characters is really horrible, but I didn’t get that vibe at all. I want to re read it to see if I missed something major, or if this character really isn’t as bad as they are made out to be. I may end up doing a full review on it.

I don’t know when I’ll update you all on what I actually read because I never seem to have the time! If you have any book recommendations for me, please let me know in the comments!

What I Read In Summer 2018!

So I suppose summer is officially over. Although I can’t wait for the Autumn trends, I’m still sad that the sunshine is gone. I definitely fell back in love with reading this summer, and over the whole summer I read eight books. Here’s what I read!

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Although I did find it hard to get into this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The book has so many little details, which I love. The character of Lucy is so realistic and you can really tell the author has put so much thought into her. The book relies on the details and the plot isn’t driven by exciting events, which could have been why I struggled getting into it. I will definitely be reading more of her work!

All About Mia by Lisa Williamson

I was excited to read this book as I love The Art of Being Normal. Unfortunately I was let down. I did feel some sympathy for Mia although at times I just wanted to shake her and tell her to grow up. I also guessed the ending, which rarely happens! If you like books by Chris Higgins and Cathy Cassidy you may like this, however, it isn’t for me.

Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

This book is an adaptation on the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which I haven’t read. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first one, which is so sad. At first, I was so worried Montgomery wasn’t going to be in it, but he did show up eventually. If you haven’t guessed, I’m firmly team Montgomery! I did enjoy that the book had more emphasis on strong female characters, and it seems that it will lead nicely onto the next one. I am very excited for the final book!

A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen.

I really liked this book. It was easy to read, and I loved how the bond between man and cat was portrayed. I’ve seen snippets of the film and I’d love to watch it all, although it seems quite different to the book. I’m not sure if I’d read any more books by the same author, but I’d definitely recommend this one to a friend! It’s a heartwarming tale.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.

Wow. I loved this book! It follows the lives of a group of mothers whose children attend the same kindergarten. At the end of the book, there is a murder. There are little police interviews at the end of each chapter, which hooked me. Although it sounds boring, it is incredibly cleverly written. The book is narrated through three mother’s points of view. Each mother is battling something in their personal lives and I loved the way this tied into the main plot line. I really haven’t sold it well, but if you read one book from this post, make it this one!

The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard.

I’m very torn on this book. I’d written in my notes that I wouldn’t go rushing back, but I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. At some points it was predictable but it was still a good story. The ending is weird though, and it didn’t feel like the book was finished. It was written by the same author of Pretty Little Liars, so I’d recommend it if you’re a fan of that. I’m keen to read the sequel though!

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig.

I’m going to be completely honest, I didn’t love this book. I really liked the concept but I found it hard to get into. After about two thirds of the way in, I did start to like it, but it didn’t really hook me. I will read more from the author though.

Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims.

This is definitely not suited to younger readers! At first, I found this book absolutely hilarious. At some points I was laughing out loud! The speaker is basically a grown up version of Georgia Nicholson, who I loved when I was younger. I did start to tire of her really quickly though. I really didn’t like the way she acted towards Charlie, and in places it’s completely unrealistic. I also found it a bit overly descriptive in places. The book would sometimes start a point, then launch into an anecdote, then go back to the original point. This is clearly to make it sound more like a diary but I found it hard to follow. I’d recommend this to older readers who are looking for a laugh.

I know I didn’t get through my whole list, but I was really happy to have the opportunity to read all these books. I think I’ll do a post on my updated TBR list, although I know there’s no way I’ll manage them all! I definitely want to post more book-related content on my blog, so look out for that in the future!

The Sims Book Tag

It’s another book tag! I really enjoy doing these, and when I saw this one I knew I had to do it! It’s another one inspired by a game. This time, it’s the Sims!

I love Sims. My first Sims game was for Gameboy Advance, and since then, I’ve been hooked! I’ve played Urbz, Sims for DS, Sims 2 for PSP, Sims Medieval, Sims FreePlay, Sims 2 for PC and Sims 4. I was obsessed!

This tag was created by Hailey in Bookland, but I got the idea from Sunsets and Bookfests. The graphic at the start of this post is from this blog.

I’ve tried to use different books from my Animal Crossing Book Tag but some are the same because I couldn’t think of anything else to fit the category.

I haven’t tagged anyone in this, but if you want to do it, please do!

Onto the tag!

The original Sims- best author debut.

For this, I’ve decided to go with Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. This was the first novel I read as part of my degree, and I enjoyed it. I chose to go with this because of the massive influence it has on gothic fiction.

The Grim Reaper- saddest character death.

I think I’ve twisted the question a little bit with this one. The most upsetting scene I’ve encountered in a novel is the scene in The Help where Miss Celia has a miscarriage. I’m going to say this is the saddest character death. Other notable mentions would be Alaska in Looking for Alaska and Meg in I Was Here.

Sims getting stuck- a character that just got in the way. I’ve been racking my brains for a more creative answer, but this is the only one I can think of. Stupid Prendick. I swear, I’m never mentioning this book again. Moving swiftly on!

Simlish- a book with amazing writing.

This is new to me. It’s called Big Little Lies. I’m not going to go into too much detail about it, but it’s incredibly cleverly written!

Expansion packs- a series where the books kept on getting better.

So I really struggled with this one. Most series I could think of start and end strongly. I chose Tracy Beaker because she gets a happy ending, and I remember liking all the books when I was younger!

Sims romance- the worst case of insta love.

Obviously the whole plot of the book wouldn’t happen if Lana hadn’t fallen for Les. But this was a relationship I couldn’t get behind at all. Their relationship is built on lies, so they were doomed from the start

Cheats- a (contemporary) book that was entirely unrealistic.

Okay, so it’s a children’s book. Children’s books are meant to be unrealistic, I know. But I do not know how CHILDREN managed to smuggle a whole elephant out of a museum. Obviously The Madman’s Daughter, Soul Screamers and a couple of others from my last tag would fit this category, but I wanted to mix it up a bit!

Needs fulfilment- a character who made all the wrong decisions.

Sorry Marianne! I’m maybe being harsh, but she makes a lot of stupid decisions during the course of Sense and Sensibility. She does eventually make some correct ones, but she definitely wins this category for me.

Error code 12- a series that started off great but went downhill from there.

I haven’t actually gotten to the end of this trilogy, which probably says it all. I really enjoyed the first book, and the second book was also good, but I just couldn’t get into the last book!

The Sims Vortex- a book/series that completely engrossed you.

It has to be Soul Screamers! I was obsessed with these books! I think I’ve mentioned the series in every book-related post I’ve written but I just loved them for so long!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this. I certainly enjoyed doing it! If there was a Super Mario book tag, I’d have covered all my childhood favourites! Now, if anyone needs me, I’ll be curled up in bed playing Sims!

Animal Crossing Book Tag!

I feel like I’ve flooded this blog with recipes so I do apologise if you’re not into those posts! I’ve currently been taking advantage of the big kitchen at home to try some new recipes. They’ll definitely be slowing down soon!

I haven’t written about books in a while because I’m saving them all to do an Autumn round up of what I read over the summer. This tag seemed like a good way to talk about my favourite books, which is never a bad thing!

This tag was started by Bookish Things and Tea. I wasn’t tagged by anyone to do it, I just thought it looked fun! All the graphics are from this blog. They were just too cute not to use!

I’ve narrowed it down to two, although there’s probably a lot more! For novels, I would love to read A Little Princess. I’d also like to read Romeo and Juliet.

Again, I have to narrow it down to two. I have a current one and one I loved when I was younger. The more current one is My Soul To Save, which is from the Soul Screamers series, written by Rachel Vincent. You know those books you just get so into? There’s screaming, crying and laughing with the characters? Yeah, that was definitely one of those books for me! I’d definitely recommend them! The other book is The Secrets of Vesuvius by Caroline Lawrence. I was OBSESSED with the Roman Mysteries when I was younger, and I remember this was one of my favourites from the series too. Considering I loved these so much, and I probably read them at about the same time I was playing Animal Crossing, it certainly deserves a shout out!

This one totally stumped me! After a lot of Googling, I’ve decided on The Fault in Our Stars. It’s set in Indianapolis and part of it takes place in Amsterdam, so I figure it fits the criteria! I really enjoyed this book, and I enjoyed a lot of John Green’s novels. So many people have read this so I won’t bore you by delving into the plot, but if you haven’t read it, it’s worth the read.

It has to be My Name is Eleanor Oliphant. I started reading this about the same time as my exams. This probably wasn’t the greatest choice, since the main characters had the same names as the characters in my set text! I really enjoyed this book, although the ending freaked me out a bit!

I haven’t outgrown most of my childhood books, as you can probably tell! The one I have to choose is The Diary of Anne Frank. I read this when I was in primary school and it’s stuck with me ever since. I reread it a few months ago actually. A bit of a strange choice, and it maybe doesn’t count since it’s non fiction but that’s the one that fits the category best.

The best book I’ve read as far as description and characters go is definitely Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. I read this in creative writing and it has inspired so much of my writing. Strout’s style is simple and focuses on description, rather than being plot driven. This book is beautiful, and I really recommend it.

I don’t want to type its name! My iPad has just stopped suggesting that I type it and I really don’t want it to start! The book wasn’t bad as such, I was just working on it constantly for about a month and I am sick of it. It even gave me nightmares, which sounds totally ridiculous! It’s not really my genre, but it was easy to follow, and I have to give it credit for presenting a complex topic matter in an easy to read way. So, if you haven’t guessed already, it is of course The Island of Doctor Moreau!

Aw no, I’ve already put my two favourites further up! I do have another book in this genre I love-The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I really love this book, although I definitely read it too young. The book is more descriptive than the film, which made it more upsetting for me, but it was still a good read. If you’re not into reading, I’d definitely recommend the film, but obviously the book is just as good too! I also loved Goodnight Mr Tom when I was younger, but I haven’t read it in years.

I’m not going to tag anyone specifically, but if you want to do this tag, please do! Make sure you tag me, I would love to read your answers!